Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
You need to keep it real with family, and with the leaders you work alongside. You may need to give information to your leaders, at the right time, but don't withhold information too long, or you risk loosing their trust. Trust is essential in working together in church leadership.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I didn’t grow up in this background, but began attending with my wife when I was twenty. She loved going to camp, and I quickly fell in love with the Northern Michigan camp we attended. We were blessed by many speakers, special music, and the fellowship with those of kindred spirit. It was nice to get away from the computers and television to enjoy some time with God. Helping out with children’s ministry a couple of years was an additional blessing. It is great to enjoy the outdoor’s, and a place a little off the beaten trail.
The problem today is that many, even in our own denomination are forgetting the revivals and the blessings of going to camp meetings. Many feel that older camps are far too outdated to be effective. They want glamour, flash, new buildings, and physically aesthetic places to seek God. Some are closing campgrounds, even when people are coming in large number. They may wish to build a more modern facility, which will cost far more than adding or maintaining what is already owned.
I find it funny to hear friends in other districts who are facing these fights to save their campgrounds. People will not come to an old tabernacle to worship, yet the younger generation will gather in garages, pole barns, warehouses, and even barns to worship every week. The younger generation may be hooked on IPODS and computers, but when they worship they love traditional atmosphere, with new amenities. Maybe those considering closing a camp should look at this upcoming culture and realize what they really like. With a few modernized changes, most due to electronics and not the look of the building a camp may be able to be used for the next generation to be blessed by a new revival spirit.
We now live in Central Illinois and our district hasn’t had camp in years. There is a great separation between many of our church. We do gather yearly for conference and we try to get together at other times, but it is difficult to pull the district together at times. We miss the fellowship of pastors, generations of believers gathering for worship, and the atmosphere of revival found at church camp.
My wife is in ministry training and attends FLAME courses from the Wesleyan Church. They often use district camps to offer training through out the country. I am blessed to join her each year in Frankfort, Indiana; at the Wesleyan Campground. It is not exactly like going to a family camp, but it helps to fill the void missing to the two of us. I hope and pray that those considering the closure of camps think long and hard about the purpose of camp meeting. I also hope they never forget either the foundation we are built upon, or the ability to reach the next generation through camping. May the fires of revival continue to burn from campgrounds, just as the fires of the campers shine into the darkness of the night.
- Keep on your journey with Jesus
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The days of the month passed by, and one evening as a storm was reported to come their way, a man came to visit the keeper. The man requested a gallon of fuel to help him run the stove on his boat, it would be the only way he would be able to eat on his journey. The keeper was reluctant, but gave the request to the man. Several days later a woman came to the kind keeper in tears, and begged some fuel to heat her home. You see at home she had a very sick child and without heat in the home the child would likely die. Two more requests of life threatening need pulled at the light keepers heart, and he was driven to help with more fuel.
Late in the month a raging storm arose. The skies were dark and the waves crashed against the rocks below the light. In the darkest part of the storm the keeper ran out of fuel for the light. Soon a ship carrying two hundred people came near the shore. The Captain could not see the rocks near the shore. The light house keeper sat helpless and in tears as he watched the ship crash on the shore and most of the people perished in the rough waves.
The light keeper had one main job. Keep the light lit. However, many things pulled at the keeper. In the end he did not have the fuel to do the job, because he had forgotten the main purpose and focus of his work.
Many people in our world today do the same thing. We stretch ourselves between many things that may seem important and good at the time, yet we are spread thin and ineffective to carry out the purpose God may have given us to do. I see this in ministers and in church goers where ever I have been. Life is hard to balance, and someone will always want our time. Many of the things we could be doing may even be good things to do.
Recently I have preached on Gideon, who God told to reduce the number of men from over twenty thousand to three hundred. The first order God gave was to send anyone home who was afraid or worried about their families at home. God understands that we need focus, and knew men divided in their task would fall prey to failing in the mission. I also have started a series in Corinthians, in which Paul says, "For I resolved to no nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."
Family, friends, work, hobbies, sports, and more will pull at our lives. We may even have requests of other ministries across town, or across the world. We do need to help with missions needs, yet we must keep a strong balance. While helping with other good things may be a blessing for the moment, if it causes us to drop our focus, our help, our responsibility in the ministry God has called us to we still fail in meeting our purpose. It is the idea that we sacrifice the great by doing the good.
In my 16 years of working around churches I have watched ministers put their needed work aside for ministries that are good, and miss meeting the needs within their own mission field. I have watched church attenders go across town to be involved in studies, and yet question ministers at the church they call home as to why studies can't grow here. I have seen people focus so much on good works that they never find Jesus Christ as Lord, but fall prey to a "works" religion. I have watched people wanting to support family who have put church aside to be with their children in every way, and in the end they can not figure out why those kids are not growing in the church or in Christ.
We all are light house keepers of the Hope and Word of Jesus Christ. We all need to keep our focus on the mission for our lives. I am not advocating that we stop missions support, or stop seeking to do good. What I am saying is that we can do these special things from time to time, but that we must never forget the main purpose that God give each of us. You see what ever your gift is in your church, it is needed. I guarantee you are missed when you are not there. More important, an opportunity for reaching a lost soul may be missed, because you are stretched to thin or maybe missing in action.
- Keep on the Journey with Jesus today.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I recall a few years ago, sitting in a Bible study and challenging everyone to say if they had grown up in the Wesleyan Church. I already knew the answer. There were thirteen people in the room, and my wife was the only one who had grown up in a Wesleyan church. I grew up in a Baptist church, but have found a solid foundation in the Wesleyan church. The church I am privileged to pastor was formed as a Congregational church in 1859, and became Wesleyan in 1975. Many of the elderly still struggle to understand their identity as Wesleyan's.
I was impressed at our District conference yesterday to hear Dr. Jerry Pence state that defining who we are is a priority of the church. It is not that I believe no other denomination is heaven bound, but to be tossed around in a world filled with human thought will not help us stand firm. We must take a firm stand on the foundation of beliefs that we choose to uphold. For myself this is the leading of men like John and Charles Wesley.
We as leaders have a responsibility to keep our people from falling prey to the plethora of thoughts that they get from our world through the variety of media that exists. Our minds are on information overload, and for many they are getting lost and missing true hope of knowing Jesus Christ.
- Keep on Your Journey with Jesus
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
You see often when I preach I focus on part of a chapter, possibly ten or twenty verses at the most. However, I am seeing John unfold in a new way, since we are following entire sections as they unfold. From Christ's beginnings to a night before going to the cross. The sections of the book tell a far different story than one may get by looking only at few verses.
For instance, this week we are looking at the week Jesus goes to the Feast of Tabernacles. In this week at various points Jesus shows that He is clearly the Messiah. The crowds and Jewish leaders show clearly that they are unwilling to accept the truth which stood before them. The question of the fulfillment of Jesus birth, his home town, his ability to do miralces and more come out in John 7 through 9. This clear message of who Jesus was could be missed if you only take sections, such as the Woman Caught in Adultry, one by one.
I do believe indepth study is very necessary, but we must always keep the big picture in mind. After all if we loose ourselves looking at small points and miss the biggest points of Salvation, Hope, Joy, Peace, and God's Love. We will miss an awful lot.
- Keep on your journey with Jesus
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
When Jesus led the disciples through Samaria, instead of to the eastern side of the Jordan it was a time of learning that God's Hope is for everyone. They were traveling a way not normally taken, and going through where people they really didn't love lived. However, they knew the usually road home would have been filled with many who were in opposition to the message.
Jesus didn't despair, because the road taken was different than the usual way. In fact, Jesus used the opportunity to witness to a woman by a well in the heat of the day. He latter reminded the disciples that His food was to do God's will in reaching the world. There are some great things to learn about Jesus going outside of the usual way that we should keep in mind in our daily routine and witness for Jesus.
- God will challenge us to look outside our normal routine in order to reach the souls of the world around us. a. Sometimes God has to forcibly move us to the place where He wants us to be.
2. To reach new people for Jesus, it takes fresh and new approaches
a. This is true in going to every new culture of our world
i. The Culture of an area
ii. The Culture of a people
iii. The Culture of a generation
3) We must reach people where they are: their level of understanding and their need
4) The Methods of Reaching change, but the Message for the heart never changes
a. Jesus never accepted the woman’s sinful life
b. Jesus did love her as a person
c. Jesus did not accept the woman’s mixed up version of the truth
5) What this means for us & reaching our world:
a.We must be open to where the Holy Spirit leads us
b. We must realize we live in a Secular Society, and we must reach people where they live
c. We must learn to understand the culture we live in, so that we can be missionaries to our own society
d. We must not compromise the truth of Scripture
e. We must make the truth understandable to the Culture we live in
We must step up, and step out where ever Christ calls us. We must be the witness to our world.
- God Bless your Journey with Jesus today
Friday, February 20, 2009
- We need to be in the right place at the right time: in fishing, it may be the right part of a lake or river, or maybe near a nice weed bed or drop off. When trying to reach people it is keeping our eyes open to the changing tides of their lives. We have opportunity to reach people when they are in transition. A new job, a new baby, a move, marriage, or a death in the family often make people open to spiritual things.
- We need to go where they are: I have not had fish just come to me yet. When you go fishing, you have to pack your gear and go to a lake or river. When you get there, you have to find the place they are biting and go. Only recent stories of the growing Asian Carp in the Illinois River are exception, as they jump out of the water to attack people in their boats. Usually we will have to go to people. People will not just stop by our homes and say, ‘I want to become a Christian.’ We need to be with people in order to have opportunity to save them.
- Use attractive Bait: In fishing, you have to change your bait depending on many factors. In the spring, you can use hatching larva, but in summer months you may need to use bait that looks like grown bugs. We must realize that our lives are the attraction to people. This is true of the life of a believer, and of the church. In both church body and individual, we must be attractive. It is not likely that you will be able to use the same technique with a seventy-year-old widow that you would with a twenty-year-old college student. Good anglers study the area they are trying to fish, and good witnesses study before inviting people to Jesus.
- Use the right Equipment: Similar to having bait you need to have good equipment for the fish you are going after. You would not fish for one hundred pound shark on a two-pound fresh water line. When we know we are going into witness to a person who is less open we may want to prepare with some Apologetic resources. We are not going to dump deep theological questions on a young child, but we may if the person has already done some deep research and has questions. Be ready for the challenge you are facing.
- Close the net: It is vital to close the net or pull the net up at just the right moment. If you move to quick, it will scare a fish away. If you move too slowly, the fish may see you and swim past. In our witness to others there will come a moment when we must ask the question of whether they are saved and whether they want to be in Christ’s family. Do not miss that moment. We must ask the question and close the net at that time, or we will miss the opportunity.
- Patience and trust in the Holy Spirit: The hardest part of fishing for most people is the wait. Many people in our busy world cannot fish, because it is too stressful on them to remain calm and quiet. This is true of many Christian witnesses too. They cannot wait upon the Lord to tell them when or how to speak. They cannot wait upon the person being ready to accept the Lord. They sometimes push so hard that the person breaks away and runs. We must be patient in the Holy Spirit and move when we feel His calling.
I encourage you to get out and drop your fishing lines for Christ. If you have not had a lot of luck lately, have patience and trust that God will guide you to the right person. Keep your eyes open and sometimes the opportunity will be a surprise right before you. God bless, and happy fishing.
- Keep on the journey with Jesus today.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
How to proceceed?
Ask God, in prayer and waiting upon His guidance.
Seek advice of godly people in your life.
Seek advice of experts in the area of your question.
Weigh the cost and the benifits.
God will bless the road we take, but we should always be sure we are taking the road that He is leading us down.
- Keep on your Journey with Jesus today